[Ads-l] greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed May 3 16:03:00 EDT 2017


The word string, "thing since sliced bread", shows up in a text search of Nathaniel Benchley's book, Side Street, Harcourt Brace, 1950.  But I could not see the page or a snippet on HathiTrust.


While looking for the book online, I ran across someone who claims to have found the snippet on google books, and the line apparently says, "greatest god-damned thing since sliced bread."


https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/209826/is-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread-supposed-to-be-taken-sarcastically

________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 12:33:04 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)
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D'oh. Should've checked.

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:30 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.co=
m
> wrote:

> Barry Popik located the valuable 1951 citation and shared it here:
>
> Entry from September 12, 2016
> =E2=80=9CThe greatest thing since sliced bread=E2=80=9D
> http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/
> the_greatest_thing_since_sliced_bread
>
>
> On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:25 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > OED's entry for "bread" hasn't been updated for a while. The earliest
> > example given for "the best (or greatest, etc.) thing since sliced
> > bread" is from 1969. Here it is from 1951:
> >
> > News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), Mar. 10, 1951, p. 3, col. 7
> > Dorothy Kilgallen, "The Voice of Broadway" (syndicated column)
> > "He is the greatest thing since sliced bread," she says of Mr. Granger.
> > [Kilgallen quoting her sister about Farley Granger in "King Solomon's
> Mines"]
> >
> > (There are more literal examples from the '30s and '40s for phrases
> > like "the newest thing since sliced bread" appearing in advertisements
> > for baked goods.)
> >
> >
>

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